It’s yet to be determined what heights the Goddard Rockets will attain by the time all is said and done this year — there’s a heck of a lot of football still to be played.
But four weeks into the 2018 season, it can safely be said of the Rockets — who play a grind-it-out, hard-nosed brand of football — that the sky’s the limit. Sporting a 3-0-1 record after a homecoming win against the Portales Rams on Friday night, the team is off to a great start and one gets the feeling watching them that the best is yet to come.
Goddard Head Coach Chris White would like to see a little more consistency on the offensive side of the ball moving forward.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot with these penalties and some of the stuff that we’re doing,” White said. “But on the other end of it, we turn around on fourth down and make clutch plays.
“We throw and catch real well sometimes — we just have to be more consistent with our offense. Our defense has kind of been our rock all year.”
The Rockets came into the contest against the Rams at 2-0-1 — the two wins coming against St. Pius X, at home to open the season, and the Deming Wildcats on the road last week. The “and one” was a tie against the Carlsbad Cavemen sandwiched in between, in a game that was stopped short at halftime due to lightning near Ralph Bowyer Stadium.
Portales was 2-1, having beaten St. Michael’s and West Las Vegas after losing their season opener to Hope Christian.
Friday night’s non-conference tilt against the Rams — the first contest in a three-game home-stand for Goddard — offered another measuring stick for the Rockets as they march toward district play later in the year. They measured up.
Goddard took the opening kickoff, but the Rockets couldn’t add points on their initial drive and the teams traded punts throughout a scoreless first quarter.
As the second quarter progressed, however, the Rockets began to hit their stride. After receiving a punt from Portales, the Rockets took over on their own 46 with 11:16 remaining in the second. They would eventually drive the ball into the redzone, where they wound up facing a fourth and three on the Portales 13. White elected to go for it and the call paid off as Robert Aragon rushed to the 10 yard-line for a first down. On the next play, Aragon would carry the ball into the endzone for the contest’s first score. After a missed extra point, it was Goddard 6, Portales 0 with 6:18 remaining in the half.
Portales took the ensuing kickoff and was in the midst of perhaps their most productive drive of the evening, threatening to answer the Rockets’ touchdown, when they fumbled on the Goddard 25. The Rockets took over and promptly returned to Portales territory thanks to big gains from Aragon and Sammy Zaragoza.
The drive threatened to stall as the Rockets faced a fourth and nine on the Portales 39, but quarterback Dalton Bowles hit Jonah Chavez with a pass down to the Portales 20 to give the Rockets a fresh set of downs. Bowles then hooked up with Connor Downs, who advanced the ball to the 11.
With five seconds left in the half, Bowles would find Nate Stone in the endzone for the Rockets’ second touchdown of the evening. After a successful two-point conversion, the Rockets led 14-0 as the final seconds of the first half ticked off the clock.
The second half picked up where the first left off, as the Rockets added two more touchdowns for the 28-0 final, while keeping the clamps on the Rams’ offense. After the game, White had praise for the effort from Friday’s opponent.
“Hats off to Portales, because they’re sure a gritty, gritty bunch of boys,” White said. “They sure had some tough kids, I thought. I thought that was a well-coached game, hard-fought game. … They sure came over here and gave us all we wanted.”
The Rockets, now 3-0-1, will host Los Lunas Sept. 28 at the Wool Bowl. Meanwhile, Portales, 2-2, will be on the road against St. Pius X.